If you’re feeling overwhelmed right now, this simple breathing exercise can help reduce anxiety & improve your wellbeing.

I first discovered this technique in yoga, but it wasn't until I started having panic attacks that I realized I could use it to stop them entirely. I'd be driving back home from New York to Maryland, and my heart would be in my throat, my hands going numb on and off, and just this sense of dread overtook me that I couldn’t stop to ask for help—I had to make home where I knew I would be safe. So, after trying everything— from rolling down windows to distracting myself with music, I returned to the breath. I had been in a state of panic for 30 minutes and to my surprise, calmed my body down in two.

How was this possible?

One of the ways we release toxicity in the body is through the breath. So, every time you breathe in fresh oxygen, you're giving the body more nutrients to cleanse itself, and every time you exhale, you're helping cells clear themselves of unwanted materials. So often when we're feeling overwhelmed, we unconsciously don’t breathe deeply or slowly enough. And by controlling the breath, we re-introduce a sense of those natural rhythms back to the body. When anxiety is accompanied by racing or intrusive thoughts, if you quiet the body, you quiet the mind and vice versa.

Want to learn this technique?

Get in comfortable position, preferably sitting and close your eyes. Inhale for 3 seconds and exhale through the mouth all at once. Now, this time, make your exhales longer than your inhales. So, inhale for 3 seconds and exhale 4 seconds. On the next exhale, mentally get rid of something that's not serving you: fear, judgement, negativity. Inhale 4 seconds. Exhale 5 seconds. if you want, you can plug one side of your nose with your thumb on the inhale and the other side of your nose on the exhale. Repeat until you sense your heart rate returning to normal, and the body relaxing.

Now, this is something that takes practice and gets easier over time. The first time, you might not notice an immediate effect and thats okay, stick with it. The point of this practice is to show you that you have the power within you to quiet your mind and eliminate negative thoughts that contribute to stress. The more you practice this, the easier it will be reduce anxiety.

Author's Bio: 

Carrie Kopp Adams is the Founder of www.massage-by-carrie.com, a mobile massage business from Southern California.

She is a Certified Massage Therapist and Certified Yoga Instructor, specializing in rehabilitating clients from injury or illness.

Raised in Baltimore, Maryland and educated at the Washington Institute of Natural Medicine in Holistic Nutrition, Ayurveda and Energy-work, she healed her own body of an autoimmune disease, prompting her to want to share this ability with others.

As a highly skilled, educated and talented healing artist, Carrie provides clients with result-driven all-inclusive integrative bodywork, combining various modalities to customize each session based on an individual's needs.